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Season Review - 1/4

20 May 2013

A Look back At The First Quarter Of The Campaign

Over the next week we will look back on what has been a highly eventful season at Bloomfield Road, reviewing everything from the managerial comings and goings to the impact of all those late goals...

After narrowly missing out on a return to the Premier League in May, there was plenty of optimism floating around Bloomfield Road ahead of the 2012/13 season.

That hope and anticipation was still in the air, despite a 2-1 loss to Morecambe in the first round of the Capital One Cup, a week before the first Championship game at The Den.

Blackpool put that loss out of their minds and went to Millwall in confident mood. Two Thomas Ince strikes meant all three points and that set the tone for the early part of the season with the winger and the team hitting top form.

Home games against Leeds United and Ipswich Town followed in which Pool were in scintillating form in both matches.

They arguably played their best football in the encounter with Neil Warnock's Leeds where they looked a side in bullish mood, oozing both class and confidence as they reversed a 1-0 scoreline to take maximum points.

The 6-0 demolition of The Tractor Boys followed meaning it was the perfect start to the season following the disappointment at Wembley a few months previous.

The transfer window slammed shut with Nathan Delfouneso and Nathan Eccleston adding to Pool's striker options late on 31 August; a day before they visited Leicester's King Power Stadium.

A harsh penalty decision meant Blackpool suffered their first defeat of the season and went into the first international break on the back of a loss, but still at the top of the table.

The two-week break may have interrupted The Seasiders' early rhythm, but they were to show their capabilities once again after the fortnight off - drawing 1-1 at Barnsley and then thrashing Middlesbrough 4-1 in the middle of September.

It was the games that succeeded that took everyone by surprise as they were soundly beaten in consecutive matches against Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City.

The match in the Welsh capital ended 3-0 and the manner in which The Seasiders conceded the goals prompted Ian Holloway to say: "Cardiff played well, but they won't score easier goals in their lives than those they got against us."

Three days later they looked far from firm at the back once again, but fortunately they had plenty of quality going forward and goals from Matt Phillips, Kevin Phillips and Nouha Dicko earned a 3-2 win at Hull City.

There were signs of the confidence drifting back into some of the Blackpool players, but when Charlton visited Bloomfield Road they frustrated their hosts from start to finish, disabling Pool from putting any real flowing moves together and restricting their chances on goal.

They were thwarted again the week after where managerless Burnley grabbed all three points thanks to their talisman Charlie Austin and some inspired goalkeeping from Lee Grant in the second period.

Over a quarter of the season was out of the way by 10pm on 23 October and The Seasiders were in 11th spot, three points outside the play-offs following a 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

Dexter Blackstock's 90th minute equaliser meant it was five wins, two draws and five defeats from the opening 12 games and despite some inconsistency it was clear Blackpool remained a team to be feared.

The Seasiders were often asked, especially at home, to come up with something special to break sides down as teams would often work on nullifying their attacking threats, displaying the respect that Blackpool had from a lot of their counterparts.

Tomorrow we will review the second quarter of Blackpool's campaign, which saw the end of Ian Holloway and the introduction of Michael Appleton...

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